7 Career Mistakes That Turn Your Mojo into Nojo (Part 4)

Be sure to catch the first 3 mistakes in yesterday’s post.

4. Bashing the Boss

Talent-management firm DDI found that the average American spends 15 hours a month criticizing or complaining about his or her boss. Indeed, boss-bashing is a popular diversion.  But while it may relieve tension and get a few laughs, denigrating your boss is not particularly attractive. Other people will wonder what you’ll say about them when they’re not around.
Bashing doesn’t build a better boss. It only serves to tarnish your reputation and lower your mojo. The negativity you spread will almost certainly affect others’ mojo, too.

5. Refusing to Change Because of “Sunk Cost”

Once incurred, a sunk cost cannot be recovered. Unfortunately, it’s also the basis for many irrational decisions that go against our best interest. When we throw more money at a problem and hope for different results, we compound the error — all because we cannot admit our error.

Each of us has sunk costs in our lives. We didn’t become successful because of luck; rather, we had to invest a big piece of ourselves in our work. At some point, this investment may have stopped paying off, without our awareness.

Are your decisions based on what you might lose or what you have to gain? It it’s the former, your devotion to sunk costs may be costing you more than you know: your mojo.

6. Confusing the Mode You’re in

We have two modes of behavior: professional and relaxed. Our professional selves are image-conscious. We pay attention to how we look, dress, speak and behave. We can’t afford to be sloppy.

In relaxed mode, some of us go to opposite extremes. We’re less guarded about everything, including our speech, language and use of humor.

So, what happens when we’re in relaxed mode, but still in the company of work colleagues and friends?

Are we sarcastic and cynical in ways inappropriate to the office setting?

The more you close the gap between who you are as a professional and who you are when relaxed, the greater the trust and confidence you’ll generate. You’ll demonstrate genuineness, and you’ll avoid slipping into sloppiness with humor and language, which can put a dent in your mojo.

7. Maintaining Pointless Arguments

Arguing happens anytime you put a group of intelligent, successful people into a room and give them a problem to solve. It also happens simply because people have egos, and it’s human nature to compete with other members of the tribe.

Arguing can put our mojo at risk by needlessly creating enemies instead of allies. Many arguments are traps in which we fight to improve our status among the tribe, rather than to solve a problem for the greater good.

Learn to avoid the following argument traps that do nothing more than zap your spirit:

a. Let me keep talking: Everyone has opinions and enjoys expressing them. In fact, we feel it’s our right to do so. Sometimes, however, we just can’t stop; we have to have the last word. It can be very hard for smart people to “just let it go.”

b. I had it rougher than you: When we revel in how poor we were and how much we had to overcome to achieve our current station in life, all we’re doing is trying to elicit other people’s admiration. What’s the point?

c. Why did you do that? We’ll never know people’s true motivations. We can speculate with generosity or paranoia, but we never may get a completely frank answer. Why waste hours trying to get to the bottom of why people do things? It will only exhaust your mojo.

d. It’s not fair: You disagree with a decision that has been made. Worse, you believe you haven’t been given a legitimate explanation. Arguing won’t change the outcome and makes you look childish. Deal with it. Save your precious mojo.

These four “losing” arguments have the same end result: no change in outcome. Look for ways to make your point, and then move on, with your mojo intact.

Tomorrow – the conclusion of this post series!

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